This week the Culture and Cuisine Club features award winning author Laurie Boris. I’ve read Laurie’s book “Drawing Breath” and I highly recommend it. Laurie’s novel “Don’t Tell Anyone” was awarded first place in the 2013 literary fiction category on the Kindle Book Review. Laurie has a new book, “Sliding Past Vertical”, and has also contributed to a recently released anthology of creepy horror stories, perfect for this time of year. In her spare time Laurie writes freelance articles, assists the Evil Mastermind at the highly acclaimed Indies Unlimited website, and performs minor or major surgery on the manuscripts of other writers. With all the creative energy Laurie burns she needs to refuel with one of her favorite comfort foods. We are excited to share her recipe for lentil soup.
In the authors own words…
I’ve always loved the comfort of soup, especially as the days turn frosty. I started making this particular lentil soup when I lived on my own for the first time and was mining the couch cushions for subway change between paydays. The ingredients were inexpensive, and I could buy most of them at the local food co-op. It also made for a filling meal that was a heck of a lot better and healthier than the (then) five-for-a-dollar prepackaged ramen noodles my roommates stocked up on. I’ve embellished on the original a bit since those days, but it’s still the same basic recipe.
Since I started writing, I’ve discovered that soup is more than a warm, humble bowl. Prepping all those root vegetables is good exercise after being at the keyboard most of the day, and I get into a kind of meditative rhythm if I want to keep that story going in head. Having leftovers around is a nice bonus when I’m on a good run and don’t want to cook. It also makes the house smell wonderful. Just don’t put the pot up to simmer and then disappear for hours into your writing room, unless you want to meet the local firefighters. Trust me. I did, and I have. They were not amused.
This recipe makes for a really big pot. If you want to make less, just cut the ingredients in half. This hearty soup is good with cornbread or biscuits, and extra yummy sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese before serving.
Olive oil and a smidge of butter
2 or 3 carrots, peeled
2 stalks of celery
2 white potatoes, peeled
1 large sweet potato, peeled
1 large onion
2 or 3 large cloves of garlic, minced (more or less to taste)
1-½ cups of dried lentils
10 cups of water
2 cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup*
Oregano to taste
Basil to taste
3-4 bay leaves
Red pepper flakes to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse and drain lentils; set aside.
- Chop all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
- Heat olive oil/butter at the bottom of a large soup pot (6-8 quarts); sauté onion, garlic, and celery until soft.
- Turn down the heat. Add canned soup, water, and lentils. Stir to combine.
- Add potatoes and carrots. Bring soup to a boil, then lower heat, add spices, cover and simmer for about an hour, stirring once in a while so it doesn’t stick.
- Using a potato masher or immersion blender, puree some of the vegetables in the pot (how chunky you want to leave it is up to you.) Adjust spices to taste, and then simmer another half-hour.
* Try to use canned soup with low sodium and no MSG. If you prefer not to use cans, add some chopped fresh mushrooms when you sauté the garlic, onions, and celery, add one more white potato and a cup of milk or cream instead of one of the cups of water. (Add milk or cream toward end of cooking.)